A Historical Bridge over the Troubled Water of Humanities and Sciences: Rethinking C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures Half-a-Century Later
Keywords:humanities, sciences, enclosure, Luddites
AbstractIn 1959 C.P. Snow published his widely influential Two Cultures, which set out to diagnose the then discernibly growing divide between the humanities and the sciences. Although Snow’s recognition was prescient in light of today’s capital-intensive domination of the sciences over the ever-fractured, underfunded humanities in the neoliberal university, his analysis was based on a one-dimensional faith in scientific progress. Contrary to Snow’s condescending characterization of Luddites and their intellectual analogues as indulging in an “Edenic fantasy”, the compatriot social historians of Snow’s times revealed the exact opposite: that it was the historical process of enclosures and capitalist expropriation that prompted the commoners’ insurrectionary struggles of machine-breaking in defense of their culture at the point of production and reproduction. Any collective effort toward the making of a “third culture” is bound to fail without properly situating the arts/sciences cultural divide as an organic part of this historical privatization of knowledge and social relations.
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